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Vatican denies role in fraud scheme

Bienvenido Macario calls our attention to an AP (5/15) report of which bere is the opening section: Vatican Denies Role in Fraud Scheme

The Vatican (news - web sites), targeted in a federal lawsuit in the United States, denied any involvement Wednesday in a $200 million-plus insurance fraud scheme run by jailed financier Martin Frankel. As it did when the scandal surfaced three years ago, the Vatican distanced itself from a prelate and two charities named in the suit.

The lawsuit, filed last Thursday in Mississippi by the insurance commissioners of Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas, accuses the Vatican and Monsignor Emilio Colagiovanni of racketeering and fraud. The lawsuit says that in 1998 Frankel, with the help of Colagiovanni, tried to use the church as a front to purchase insurance companies. It says Frankel was to give $55 million to the Vatican as a charitable foundation. The Vatican would keep $5 million and Frankel would retain control over the remaining $50 million. The suit says the Vatican was associated with the fraud through the actions of Colagiovanni in his role as a senior member of the Vatican government, and that other senior Vatican officials knew of the schemes but did not act to stop them.The states are seeking the $200 million-plus as the amount U.S. insurance companies lost.

The Vatican never benefited from the $200 million, but under the racketeering law, a party involved in the conspiracy is responsible for the entire amount stolen, said Mississippi's deputy insurance commissioner, Lee Harrell. Frankel was arrested in Germany in 1999 and is jailed in Rhode Island awaiting trial in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Conn., on charges of racketeering, fraud and conspiracy.

My comment: Now it comes back to me. Frankel was a resident of Greenwich, Con. What do WAISers in that charmed spot say about him? Perhaps they are too busy thinking about the Skakel case.The local newspaper is called Greenwich Time. Perhaps both of them will be doing mean time in a less idyllic place. As for Frankel, perhaps Cameron Sawyer, as a lawyer, can explain how he got away with it for so long. Skakel was extradited from Europe. Extradition is an excellent example of international law, which is now being harmonized and codified. Will the US refuse to sign the resultant treaty?

Ronald Hilton - 5/20/02